Asset Based Community Development in South Lakeland

“Productively Connecting Unconnected Local Assets”

The Cumbria County Council Community Development Team in South Lakeland work closely with the Locality Public Health Manager on activity that contributes to achieving the outcomes set out in the Council Plan 2018-2022, in particular:

  • People in Cumbria are healthy and safe, and
  • Places in Cumbria are well-connected and thriving.

The activity embraces ‘new ways of working’ with a focus on:

  • Working with partner organisations and communities to achieve shared aspirations, and
  • Exploring new ways to deliver services and maximise our resources.

Additionally community development and public health activity addresses the overarching ambition of the Cumbria Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2019-’29 “To enable Cumbrian communities to be healthy and to tackle health inequalities”. By identifying and productively connecting unconnected local assets the Communities Team and the Locality Public Health Manager are working to progress the Cumbria Joint Public Health Strategy which emphasises the importance of building five types of community assets, namely:

  • Natural assets: A high quality natural environment that provides opportunities for engagement with the natural world.
  • Human assets: People with the skills, knowledge, and experience that give them the capacity to take part in society and have meaningful and fulfilling lives.
  • Social assets: A good social infrastructure, with networks and institutions that allow people to connect to each other.
  • Physical assets: A good physical infrastructure including housing, transport, and a commercial environment that promotes healthy behaviours.
  • Financial assets: Adequate financial resources that are fairly distributed.

Bringing together people with diverse interests, local organisations, businesses and providers of services to consider the potential in their local community is the cornerstone of our approach to asset based community development.

There are now active community wellbeing groups in each of the eight key market towns across South Lakeland and a number of such groups in smaller communities. Each group is different, each calls themselves what they wish to, each reflects the assets that members bring to their local community conversation and each decides what it wishes to work towards.

Integrated Care Communities have been very active. A lot of the activity has been focused on helping people to maintain happy and healthy lives.

The Plan on a Page template is a tool to help groups identify their strengths and the assets of the local community. The tool encourages conversations about people of all ages and those most vulnerable, it assists groups to identify opportunities and to think about who might be missing from their conversations.

Community and voluntary sector organisations have been working closely with other partners to showcase the work of local wellbeing groups at wellbeing events across South Lakeland.

The full report which contains further details and diagrams can be accessed here